I'm counting down the days until the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
I'm not a race fan in the fanatic sense. I've only been to the Indy 500 a handful of times. My memories center around listening to the race on the radio in the backyard while filling out the leading laps grid from the Indianapolis Star.
I do love Indianapolis, tradition, and most of all a theme! Each day I will share a memory or tidbit of history.
Mario Andretti won the 1969 Indianapolis 500. Who knew that the young racer - only 29 at the time - would qualify for the race an amazing 29 time and not have another trip to Victory Circle?
His lack of subsequent victories became a thing and eventually took on a life of its on, earning the name "Andretti Curse"
In spite of his heart-breaking record at the Indy 500, Mario had an amazing racing career. He is one of only two drivers to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR (Dan Gurney was the other). He also won races in midget cars, and sprint cars.
During his career, Andretti won the 1978 Formula One World Championship, four IndyCar titles, and IROC VI. To date, he remains the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), Daytona 500 (1967) and the Formula One World Championship. He and Juan Pablo Montoya are the only drivers to have won a race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Formula One, and an Indianapolis 500. Mario was the last American to win a Formula One race since his victory at the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. He has an incredible 109 career wins on major circuits.
He is only person (so far) to be named United States Driver of the Year in three decades (1967, 1978, and 1984). He's also had IndyCar wins in four decades. And yet the "Andretti Curse" still gets talked about when his named is mentioned...